Michigan State ATOs team up for Fish Fry

Feb 22, 2010

As the sound of crinkling foil and the smell of fried fish began to fill the gym, hungry people filed in.

A team of Knights of Columbus members and Alpha Tau Omega fraternity members was poised and ready for the crowd behind tables filled with fish, fries and mac ‘n’ cheese, among other foods. Friday marked the first fish fry of the Lenten season for St. Thomas Aquinas in East Lansing.

“This is to remind ourselves that Jesus died for us on the cross on Friday,” said Rev. Mark Inglot, pastor of the Catholic parish. “It’s also meant to put us in solidarity with the poor.”

The dinner, held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. each Friday of Lent in the church’s school, is a place for Catholics and community members to gather. Giving up meat on Friday is a sacrifice Catholics make to remember the sacrifice Jesus made for them, Inglot said. Fish also was a food of the poor in ancient times, and eating it is a way to remember the less fortunate.

The event also raises about $5,000 to $6,000 each year for charities, said Bob Ianni, a member of the Knights of Columbus and orchestrator of Friday’s event. The Knights of Columbus sponsor the dinners, which attract about 500 to 600 people.

“We do it for the fellowship,” Ianni said.

Becky Newcombe, an East Lansing resident, brought her family to the dinner, marking a special occasion because it was their first time out since she gave birth to her son Daniel about five weeks ago.

With her husband and two other children in tow, Newcombe said Lenten fish fries are a staple in her family.

“It encourages families to eat together and feel like part of the community,” she said. “With young kids, restaurants aren’t always the best places to go.”

Santo Lupo, of Alpha Tau Omega, said 14 fraternity brothers from Michigan State University came to help set up and run the dinner.

“It’s a good way to get the brothers out and involved,” he said.


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